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Model Niki Taylor out of surgery

Niki Taylor
Niki Taylor underwent five hours of surgery Thursday. She has severe injuries to her liver and abdomen  

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Model Niki Taylor, critically injured in a car accident, underwent five hours of surgery Thursday.

Sharon Getties, a spokeswoman for Grady Hospital, said she could not describe Taylor's condition any further. She had been in critical condition since the crash early Sunday.

Earlier, the driver of the car talked about the accident and his friend.

"She's pretty much the same as yesterday, but she's still with us, and that's what's most important," said Chad Renegar, 27, in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America."

Renegar, who gave the interview while at the hospital, talked about the dangers of using a cell phone while driving. He was at the wheel of his black 1993 Nissan Maxima with Taylor, 26, in the passenger seat and a third person in the back when his cell phone rang from between the two front seats.

"For just a moment, I was distracted by something that was not part of what I should have been doing ... and the result of that has changed the lives of three people and their families," he said.

Renegar, of Cartersville, Georgia, lost control of his car and it crashed into a telephone pole shortly before 4 a.m. According to a police report, the car was driving in downtown Atlanta, on a street where the speed limit is 35 mph.

He and Taylor were wearing seat belts, he said. The car's sole air bag -- on the driver's side -- deployed. Neither he nor the third occupant, John Lack, 30, of Atlanta was seriously injured.

Renegar urged others to take heed. "There's nothing on that phone that could be nearly as important as what's going on in front of you," he said.

Taylor's business manager, Lou Taylor (no relation), said the model suffered severe injuries to her liver and abdomen.

"She did not suffer any facial lacerations, any head trauma, or any body lacerations whatsoever," her manager said.

Taylor's modeling career began at age 14 when she appeared on the cover of Seventeen magazine. She became a top runway model, landed multi-million-dollar contracts with Cover Girl cosmetics and Liz Claiborne fashions, and appeared on the covers of scores of magazines, including the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

In 1995 at her Florida home, she found her 17-year-old sister, fellow model Krissi, unconscious from an asthma attack aggravated by a heart condition. Krissi died at the hospital. Since then, Niki Taylor has raised money for asthma research.

At age 19, she married arena football player Matt Martinez. They had twin sons, born in 1995.

The couple divorced after three years of marriage.

She recently signed new modeling contracts with Nokia and others and reportedly is planning to take acting lessons.

Supermodel Taylor's injuries 'life-threatening'
May 2, 2001
Publicist: Supermodel Niki Taylor critically hurt in crash
May 1, 2001

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4:30pm ET, 4/16

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